Haitian Hollywood Blog

A blog where you can speak your mind about any related Haiti and Haitian topics

Interview: Canadian-Haitian Jazz Duo Bel and Quinn, PART II

Canadian Jazz duo Bel and Quinn
Bel is one-half of the Canadian Jazz duo known as Bel and Quinn. The Canada-born singer-songwriter and her sister-partner has wrestled with depression to become of the hottest acts on the Canadian scene. Read our exchange below!

Kreyolicious: You’re a Canadian of Haitian descent. What was it like growing up with that dual identity?
Bel: It’s something that I really treasured as an adult. When I was a teenager, this dual identity was unclear. I sometimes felt that I could not express my Haitian origins. However, when I reached adulthood, I asked myself more questions: who am I? Where do I come from? To understand who I am, I need to understand my origins, history and it’s a search that I have not completed to date. This is an important pursuit.

Kreyolicious: Which artists did you grow up admiring?
Bel: I listened to various bands such as The Beatles, The Smiths, Rolling Stones, Isley Brothers, Fugees etc. Growing up, I discovered artists who inspired me in an incredible way. I’m talking about Nina Simone, Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, Al Green, Marvin Gaye and so on.
Canadian Haitian jazz duo Bel and Quinn
Kreyolicious: What made you and Quinn start the group?
Bel: Music has helped us overcome great difficulties such as illness. Without music, I can not even imagine how we would have survived. It gave us a voice. The voice we didn’t have when we were younger.

Kreyolicious: Now you are part of a group with two leading members. How do you handle creative differences?
Bel: I have to say, it works pretty well. I write lyrics and Quinn composes the music. If there are differences, we take the time to discuss them and we always manage to find common ground.

Kreyolicious: You been to Haiti yet?
Bel: Not yet, but I have to go. I want to go [this year] if possible.
Canadian-Haitian Jazz Duo Bel and Quinn
Kreyolicious: When do you feel the most beautiful?
Bel: When I’m on stage, I feel beautiful and confident. Being able to sing and share my music gives me incredible strength. I’m not afraid of anything.

Kreyolicious: What’s the music scene like right now in Canada?
Bel: Right now, there are different things going on. If I talk about the jazz scene, it’s not accessible. It’s not easy. It lacks opportunities for artists of cultural diversity. By cons, there are multiple festivals. During summer, Montreal vibrates with music.
Bel and Quinn Canadian-Haitian Jazz Duo
Did you miss my interview with Bel’s other half? CLICK HERE to read the interview with Quinn!

VISIT the sisters’ website| Bel and Quinn on Youtube | Bel and Quinn on Twitter


CLICK HERE to read other interviews and features with Canadians of Haitian descent!

Original author: kreyolicious
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An Interview With Haiti Chef Natacha Gomez

Chef Natasha Gomez Haitian Chef
Natacha Gomez is one of Haiti’s most renowned chefs. Get to know her, and her relationship with food, the kitchen, and of course, Haiti.

Kreyolicious: Tell us about yourself.
First of all, I’m Haitian and I’m proud to be a Haitian woman because we are the core of Haiti. I’m a single mother of two wonderful children Keisha and Giovanni [two teenagers]. Being a mother is what I enjoy the most as a woman. I have one brother. I’m a fighter for all the causes I believe in. I come from a family of wonderful women…all great cooks who’ve even published cooking books. My parents Anthony and Marie-Claude Gomez opened their first restaurant in 1980 Caille Toto. I studied travel and tourism, but my love for the culinary arts sent me to the Wilton School for cake decorating and I also studied catering and gourmet cooking. I started to cook at the age of 8 with my grandmothers. When my father opened his first restaurant, I was in heaven. They could always find me in the kitchen, and I have some burns and scars to prove it…my war badges. I worked under the supervision of the chefs while creating my own dishes. I opened my catering business [more than] ten years ago…Mini Delices. [Several] years ago, I helped my parents open their second restaurant Kokiyaj Market Bar and Grill a seafront restaurant in Cap Haitien. I opened my own fast food restaurant Chef T in Cap Haitien in August 2012, which I hope will become a chain.

I also want to empower other Haitian woman with the association of AFADEM (Aksyon Fanm Pou Demen Miyò) Women for a Better Future. I’m also a special event specialist. I write, organize, and create cultural events. I have participated in many festivals and carnivals in Haiti and also did the first edition of Festival du Café in Terrier Rouge in the North East and working also on the second edition.

Kreyolicious: What part of Haiti were you born in?
Cap Haitian.
Haitian Chef Natasha Gomez
Chef Natacha Gomez in the center of the photo and in the center of things as usual. Photo via Investa.

Kreyolicious: You are from Cap Haitien. There are definitely some dishes that are unique only to that area?
When you say Cap Haitien you think about cashews…all the dishes with guinea fowls, fish, our griot, the fresh seafood, our artisanal [arts and crafts], fresh cheese that we eat in the morning with cane syrup, our Mabi and so on.
Haitian Chef Natacha Gomez
[Photo Via: Haiti Open]

Kreyolicious: What do you remember about your childhood in Haiti?
Family life [was] the best. On both [of my parents] side, it was a large family. I think about all the love they shared all the time; all the parties we had shaped me to be the woman and the business woman I am today. When I was in 6th grade, I had my first kids club every Friday my friends would come for a few hours and I would bake cookies for them.

Kreyolicious: What dish should every visitor in Haiti try?
When visiting Haiti, tourists should try our seafood as and island we should promote what we have best and also our agriculture, which is 100% organic.

Kreyolicious: No one should leave Haiti without visiting these three places…
I’m from the North [part of Haiti]…so…La Citadelle, our caves and of course our beaches.

Did you enjoy this interview with Chef Natacha Gomez, also known as Chef T? CLICK HERE to read other articles and interviews from figures based out of Haiti. #StraightouttaHaiti

Original author: kreyolicious
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